An extrasolar planet, commonly known as an exoplanet, is a planet that is situated outside the Solar System. The first exoplanet was discovered in 1992. The very first confirmation of the existence of an exoplanet orbiting the main sequence-start was made in 1995.
The recent discovery of seven Earth-like exoplanets shocked scientists and people all over the world as it means that the search for alien life outside our Solar System can start sooner than everybody was thinking.
A group of seven planets, similar in size to our planet, have been noticed around a small star in Aquarius constellation. It is thought they are warm enough for water, thus sustainable for life. This news thrilled astronomers a lot who think that the next generation telescopes, that are going to be used in the next decade, will significantly increase the chances to hunt for other life forms beyond our system.
This huddle of worlds is the first discovery of so many planets found around the same star. They circle Trappist-1, a dwarf star that makes the system the first candidate to search for life in the future. This star is larger than Jupiter by a finger’s breadth and shines 2,000 times weaker than the sun.
Astrophysicists have come to the conclusion that the star is so small and cold that the seven worlds are temperate. Therefore, they could have water and life on the surface. Given their size is a lot like that of the Earth, ranging from 10% larger to 25% smaller, there couldn’t be other significant differences. The most important thing to figure out is the compactness of the planet’s orbits.
The fifth planet is considered to be the most habitable. It has been estimated that in our sky, it would loom 10 times larger than the sun.
According to the researchers, there is hope that within a decade, it will be possible to see whether there is life on those planets. Their discovery is a crucial moment for science seeking to find life out there.
Last year, astronomers reported what the three planets looked like in the orbit around Trappist-1. The start has its name from the Trappist telescope in the desert of Chile which was the first to recorded signs of alien life. It didn’t see the planets directly but caught their shadows while crossing the star’s face. This is a great achievement for the entire humankind as now we are closer than ever to the secrets of the Universe.